Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Details will continue to be added as they are provided.
COVINGTON, Ga. — The Newton County School System announced Monday evening that it will be resuming all sports and extracurricular activities beginning Tuesday, Aug. 25.
According to a statement put out by Newton County Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey, the school district made the decision to end the suspension following a “careful monitoring” of numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
“I know how important athletics is to the overall social-emotional wellbeing of our athletes, and we did not take the decision to shut down and now resume sports lightly. We have continually monitored this situation and the data show a current downward trend in the numbers of COVID-19 in our community,” Fuhrey stated in the press release. “That combined with our enhanced safety protocols led us to the decision to resume athletics.”
Fuhrey added that the safety of all student-athletes is the county’s top priority, and “as such, we will continue to monitor the data and consult with our local health organizations.”
“Should the numbers warrant a change in our status, we will make an adjustment,” she said. “This is a fluid situation and could change at any time”
The GHSA football season is set to begin next week. Alcovy and Newton are currently scheduled to kick off their respective campaigns on Friday, Sept. 4, with Eastside set to join Friday, Sept. 11.
As of Monday evening, it appeared as though Newton County's football programs were on track to start the season on time in spite of the temporary suspension.
"Right now it looks like we'll be able to start the season as outlined," Alcovy head football coach Jason Dukes said.
As of Monday, Aug. 24, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported there had been a cumulative total of 2,168 cases of COVID-19 in Newton County. Furthermore, the DPH stated that Newton County had reported 273 new cases per 100,000 residents. That rate appears to show a decline from Wednesday, Aug. 19, when the county had reported 350 new cases per 100,000 residents.